BALLSTON – Due to growing demand in recent years for business and residential development, some residents have expressed concern about proposals for increased development and the risk posed to the town’s character.
Two new residential plans were discussed at the town’s regular planning board meeting April 25. The first proposed along East Line Road called for 58 new lots and a second project along Goode Street has 12 units.
Some of the meeting attendees want to see Ballston stay as a place to enjoy rural scenery, either as farmland or an untouched natural landscape.
According to resident Scott Draina, who also serves as co-chair of the Ballston Farmland Protection and Preservation Committee, these new projects were favoring profits for developers at the expense of the town itself.
“I look at this plan,” Draina said about the East Line Road project, “and I see three more lots were crammed in there because it was possible to do … if you reference the town’s comprehensive plan, it suggests ‘rural character throughout’ and I don’t see a lot of rural character in this project when people are looking out the front door at houses and people are looking out the back door at other houses.”
Planning Board Chairman John Van Vorst confirmed the 54-acre site, located in the Ballston Lake residential area, had added lots since the project’s first approval because he says the company, Desrosiers, felt it could attract more developers that way. Both that project and the 12-lot site, owned by Thomas Benuscak, had already been granted approval by the planning board but had let it lapse. In the case of the latter, there was pending litigation over water usage that took until this year to be resolved.
Several residents complained about increased traffic, both during construction and as a result of the new homeowners. A family who has lived in Ballston for more than 35 years argued that the Benuscak project would spoil their view of a cornfield, although the developers argued that the land hadn’t been used for farming in quite some time.
Far less contentious was the approval for a two-lot subdivision along Goode Street and a 4,000-square-foot building extension for the Sterling Group, which is bringing around 10 more employees to the Ballston location. The septic tank will have to be relocated to a different lot, and so the project’s approval was conditioned on an easement agreement.
“Ballston is one of the fastest growing towns in one of the fastest growing counties,” Van Vorst said.
Speaking on behalf of the Farmland Protection and Preservation Committee, Draina did not think building apartments over a smaller area would solve the problem.
“The town doesn’t need more density or complexes,” Draina said. “If that’s the type of environment that people like to live in, there are places for those people to go. Our town is rural.”
Calls for comment by Benuscsak and Paul Olund of EDP Environmental Design Partnership have not yet been returned.
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